This process is, apparently, great for business, reducing storage costs and production inefficiencies. However, I'm not sure it's so great as a lifestyle. I feel as though I live my life JIT, and I don't think I like it so much.
For a long time I've considered myself the "right-on-time" girl. If there's a meeting, or if I have an appointment, or even a date, I will time everything to be there "right-on-time." Try as I may to be early, something will always come up that will inhibit me from being there early, but right on time, oh you betchya. Don't get me wrong. I'd rather be right-on-time girl than perpetually late girl (yes, I admit, sometimes I can run late... but the reasons why will be explained below). I like to think I'm the perfect blend of my parents, my mother who is always 15 minutes early to everything and my dad who is constantly running late.
You see, I have this JIT lifestyle down, but it leaves little-to-no room for error. There's definitely something addictive and stressful in that, and I think I thrive off of it. The best example of my JIT life in action is my morning routine. I have every morning activity broken into it's time allotment and there's varying degrees within that. For example, if I want to do a quality job and put good effort into the activity (i.e., showering , shampooing my hair twice as directed, and shaving my legs) versus I just need to get it done (i.e., not even showering, but turning on the tub faucet full-blast and getting down on my hands and knees to position my head under the water getting my hair wet enough to fix the "bed head" look I woke up with). After my alarm goes off in the morning (which by the way sounds like the most obnoxious flock of angry geese), I actually lay in bed thinking about how much time I have until I really need to get up, and if I got up at that time, what do I really have time to do. This of course takes precious minutes away from my morning routine (well, forget shaving the legs).
Once I'm finally out of bed, it's a scramble for me to efficiently and effectively complete all necessary tasks before I'm out the door, and usually on my way to meet my vanpool. I even know exactly how long it takes to drive to the vanpool meeting place and more often than not, I pull up about 15-30 seconds before the van does.
Were I a business, this would dramatically impact my quality and efficiency in a good way, but in all honesty, it stresses me out. Because everything has to be just right, there is no margin for error. And I also think I use the JIT philosophy as justification for procrastination. If I can create enough urgency and muster up enough adrenaline to get a job done, I can do it and do it well. If I those two things aren't really present, then I'll just put it off until they do exist--eventually, they'll be there.
So there's my nasty procrastination habit but I don't think that's the only reason I feel trapped in my JIT life. But that, my friends, is the making of another post. Why? Because it's 11:45, and I have two loads of laundry going so that I can have enough underwear and socks for the conference in Vancouver that I'm driving to from work tomorrow afternoon, of course. And yes, that means I'll need to get up early and actually pack for it. Just in time, baby, just in time.
Note to self: Tomorrow may be a wet-the-hair-to-get-rid-of-the-bed-head kind of day.
Eh, I can deal with the procrastination habit later.
Case in point, this blog. Wait, no. It's bigger than that. I'm going to say the Internet. Online dating, personal e-mailing, the blog, reading friends' blogs, reading strangers' blogs, learning about Hollywood's juciest gossip. I find myself getting drawn in to the hugest time suck and it's driving me crazy. I'll sit down at the computer (with plenty of other things to do) and suddenly I look up and 3 hours have vanished.
I used to go to bed early, but now I find myself staying up 1-2 hours later. And I blame the Internet. Okay, really, I should blame myself. I'm lacking the self-discipline these days to turn off the computer, just say "no" the latest Brittney scandal on TMZ, or write a post to the blog prior to 10 PM.
When I logged on to write this post, I played a little hardball with myself. I gave myself 15 minutes to write and post and then it's time for bed (and then I'm not allowed to dilly dally around on the computer, following the shiny objects and bells and whistles). Ack! I only have 5 minutes left.
But seriously, I feel so much more at ease with my life--in every aspect of it--when I'm in a routine that is somewhat predictable and allows me the 7.5 hours of sleep I really need. So this week, I'm going to work on re-establishing my habits.
Note to self: Time to turn off the computer and turn on the rest of your life. Make the time you need to for the activities you value most (the blog: okay, sleep: definitely, cleaning the house: if I have to, surfing the web: life will go on even if you don't know "The real reasons he won't commit" and other recycled articles brought to you by Cosmo and MSN--but man, why am I such a sucker for those ones?).
With 30 seconds to spare...
No note today, just a sigh of relief. And a big "thank you" to my great friend, the Man of Iron, that lit the fire under my butt to get rid of those jars once and for all.
You see, my jars are my most recent relationship. It ended five months ago, and for the most part I'm doing well. But for the other parts, I know that I'm internalizing a lot of things that I shouldn't be (and those are the figurative Tupperware of leftovers that keep gnawing at me) and I'm working on that. But it's just time to be done with the marinara. My head knows this, but my heart is a few steps behind.
I had a little episode last week with my jar--one that I'm not particularly proud of, but that I know was a manifestation of some of the frustrations and pain I've been holding inside. Apparently, this jar has found a new jar, and that just drove me up the wall (I don't need any more unwanted jars in my fridge, right?). And it's not so much the new jar that bugs me--let's face it, someday I too will get a new jar. It's more the fact that how can he be ready for that new jar so soon. Again, things I know I should not be internalizing and that I have no control over, and that are honestly, none of my business. I'm working on letting go of all of that.
But here's the real thing, I found out today that indirectly, I know this new jar. And it's in the smallest world sort of ways, not because she was a mutual friend or anything, she's someone with whom I was briefly associated. So that weirds me out a little.
The thing that is helping me keep my sanity through this all is the fact that I do know this jar. It's a fine jar. Cute and nice, but honestly a plain and simple jar. So I think, "you're replacing me with that? That is what you've been looking for? That's the follow-up? Wow." Cute and nice may be fine and well, but personally I think they are b-o-r-i-n-g. I like to think that my own jar is dynamic and full of energy, passion, compassion. It's real beauty--so much more than cute and nice. And that makes me feel better.
I'm determined to rid my fridge of unwanted jars and to help get my heart up to speed with my head, I keep repeating today's note:
Note to self: My "follow-up" WILL be a step up!
Sayonara, marinara; hello, pesto!
Since we've already got the fact that I am (or can be) lazy out on the table, I will not be as ashamed to divulge what is in my fridge. Here it goes:
- Five--yes, five--jars of marinara sauce. All of which are at varying levels, not really different flavors either. Two are half full, two a spoon scrape away from being empty, and one is essentially empty, I just keep it in there so the others can have a friend.
- A few Tupperware containers of old leftovers--I don't think I can be honest about how old.
- Two empty soy milk cartons--waiting to be composted.
- Several bags of salad and veggies--it pains me that I waste so much money on these things. EVERY trip to the store I say to myself, "this week, I won't waste this salad." And EVERY week I waste the salad.
- An entire shelf dedicated to "the things I really need to recycle, but I'm scared to open because of what may be in there and because my garbage is not full and I don't want that stinky scary item haunting my kitchen." And before you think, "uh, you could take the garbage out half full," remember that I know that... and refer back to the first paragraph.
So I lied, I am ashamed about what's in my fridge. And it makes me sad that I'm that lazy, or maybe it's lackadaisical, about the fridge. When I opened it up to put the new groceries away tonight, I was struck with the sudden reality that the fridge may actually be a metaphor for my life right now. I've got a lot on the shelf of "things I really need to deal with, but I'm scared to because of what may be in there and I don't want them haunting my life," just sitting there, festering. Every so often I open the door and I see them there, and they stress me out, but I don't deal with them, I just close the door (and reach for the cookies in the pantry... oh don't even get me started on what that's a metaphor for).
It's hard to make room for my new, fresh groceries (I had to do some major rearranging of marinara jars and soy milk cartons) when the old is taking up so much space.
Note to self: The energy it will take to put into what I don't want to do, is drastically less than the energy I will spend stressing out about how much I don't want to do it.
I'm making the promise to myself that tomorrow, I'll take some important steps to cleaning off my shelf. And as for my fridge, well, that will have to wait for a weekend when I'm finally in town.
Note to self: Good things DO come to those who wait. Nothing worth having comes easy. When you follow your passion, joy/money/happiness/insert whatever will follow.
Today was a day 3 plus years in the making. Dare I say, 30 years in the making. Not that I've reached my pinnacle, but I've been building to this point. And today I got the energy and the support and the fire I need to keep on building.
I recently decided to start blogging. It's been something I've been kicking around for a while. I have friends who blog and I always found myself just the tiniest bit jealous of them. Of course committing to a blog was a huge hurdle, one, because I am lazy, and two, while I was jealous of my blogging friends, I also didn't want to become "that girl."
You know "that girl," the one who thinks she can write a truly profound memoir in her mid-20s, when really it's just garden variety chick-lit. Or "that girl," who has herself fooled that people will actually want to read what she has to say. Being "that girl," is challenging because you either have to be so egotistical that you think everything you have to say merits an audience and you don't even notice that you don't have one, or you have to really come up with some good stuff to say to keep people interested.
I'll let you, my handful of readers (would you look at that, you've grown in size over the course of two paragraphs), determine "what girl" I am to you. To me, I'm "that girl" that just wants to share the notes to self I collect--sometimes profound, sometimes not, sometimes audience-worthy, sometimes just for my own cathartic release.
With that, welcome.
PS--If you enjoy the crazy I'm peddling, feel free to share it with others.
While this scene was endearing--I failed to mention that the woman on the phone was cute and grandmotherly--I am emphatically against using cell phones in public transportation vehicles. As a frequent bus rider, nothing makes my blood boil quicker than an obnoxious person on their cell phone. My friend on the train pointed out something she read that stated the reason people get so annoyed with public cell phone conversations is not because the person's talking is annoying--let's face it, it's often not any louder than a typical conversation between two people--but because it is only a one-way conversation and all of us eavesdroppers (you know you are one of them too) can't stand the fact that we can't hear the complete conversation.
So, I agree with that to a point; I mean, it does provide some juicy gossip, usually about complete strangers. But I had an experience today on a shuttle between buildings at work that was simply annoying based upon the one side of the conversation I could hear... and I don't know that I would have wanted to hear the other half.
Direct quote (and I am NOT even embellishing this for a moment. In fact, I even pulled my notebook out of my bag just to accurately capture this gem): "Well, I'm taking him to the doctor this afternoon. I have to... for his toe. I think we've managed to get the pusiness under control, but I cannot even imagine that the toenail will grow in the way it should without a serious intervention."
Um, yeah. Did that just make you throw up a little in your mouth, too? Pusiness is not even a word, yet it conjures up the most horrible images. That is juicy gossip of the worst variety. No eavesdropper wants to hear that.
Note to self, or in this case others: Take care of his toe. Please. For the love of all mankind and your co-workers on the shuttle. And also, please don't make me vomit anymore.
Note to self: Don't make promises you can't keep.
I'm behind on the seven-day-seven-post promise I made. But the thing that kills me, is that I haven't shared this blog with anyone--so why the guilt? It's innate. It's the pressure I've put on myself since I was a little kid. It's the six-year old girl in me that used to get so frustrated when I didn't spell all the words spewing out of my speak and spell (for the record, Mr. Cosby, I could spell "says"). Or the third-grader that went through five (and I'm not even exaggerating) bars of Dove soap for a book report on Black Beauty that called for a horse soap carving and it had to be just right. Or it's the little girl...
Whoa. Timeout. I would like to amend my initial note...
Note to self: Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and re-freakin'-lax!
To my audience of zero, I apoligize for my apparent lapses both in posting and in keeping my internal-perfectionist in check. I'm trying my hardest at this--like I've said before, it is a commitment, but one that I am, in fact, enjoying. So much so that I think I'm about ready to set this baby free. This is a promise I'm definitely keeping.
PS--Who needs therapy when I can analyze my psyche with the blog?
And it wasn't for the Swedish fish, plate full of meatballs, the Forsed lamp that I've been searching for over a year, or the mass quantities of cheap crap that I never knew I needed so badly. No. Tonight I fell in love with the IKEA parking garage, moreover, the flatbed shopping carts in the IKEA parking garage.
A friend and I had a "date" to the dream store tonight, and after dilly-dallying through the textiles, kitchen supplies, frames, and the indoor plant section, we found ourselves in the far reaches of the parking lot with a flat bed cart. Taking it back to cart return, I gave it a good running start and then leaped on top of it. What a smooth ride. Quoting from Titanic I yelled out, "I'm the king of the world..." for all to hear and witness me in my 30-year-old glory riding my chariot home.
My friend wanted to give it a try, so I told her to take it for a spin. She agreed that it was definitely a five ticket ride. Then she had the scathingly brilliant idea that we should have cart races. We established the rules (i.e., how many steps we get for the running start--3) and away we went. One of the carts had a mind of its own. It became the stunt cart and would spin 360s down the parking aisle. I came close to bouncing off a Previa, but didn't even care because a.) danger is my middle name, ha!, and b.) it was too fun to stop!
Note to self: I need to make more time to play!
As we left IKEA to go get ice cream--oh boy, oh boy!--my friend stated that right there was a reason she doesn't think she's grown up enough to have kids. Case in point, we are both well-educated professionals who know better than to horse play in the parking lot on shopping carts (I hear parental voices nagging in my head). But it had us both giggling and giddy the remainder of the night. I think that spontaneous and creative flash of fun needs to have its place in parenting. Either that, or you leave the kids in the IKEA ball room of fun, while you go and ride the carts.
But this is not a post about why I can't commit--leave that for the therapist I should see, but haven't committed to. No. This is a post about how I cannot believe I have a blog now, because it is such a commitment.
I know that in order to be a "good" blogger, you need to post regularly. And lord knows I came out of the womb striving to be "good." So I'm trying really hard to commit. You see, I've never been one who journals. I always wanted to be, though. I have countless journals tucked into chests, drawers, and closets in my house. Each one brimming with the potential to capture my story, but each one sadly empty except for maybe one or two entries that all say, "This year is going to be different, I will commit to writing..."
I've contemplated getting a dog, but what holds me back is the fact that it's such a commitment. You've got to take care of it, come home and nurture it, and even buy health insurance for it (well, you don't have to, but you could). Tonight I was at my friends' house and thought, "I need to get home to write a post." I had to come home to my blog--and I try to convince myself that is not at all depressing. I needed to take care of it, and nurture it, but thankfully it does not need insurance. So for now, instead of a dog, I have a blog. Baby steps.
Here's the deal I've made with myself. Seven entries in seven days. After that first week, I'm going to try to establish posting at least three times a week. I can't promise much, but I am going to try.
Note to self: It's only a blog, it doesn't need to be let out to pee three times a day and it doesn't need training to stop from jumping on your guests. If you can't commit to this, you definitely need a theraputic intervention.
Here and now I'm making the commitment to you that I will post regularly--but who are you? Nobody and everybody.
After that last post, there was no way that I could not go down this road. And I think that I can justify it because Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving. While I'm not Canadian, I do love Canada, I have quite a few Canadian friends--I even lived with one for a while--and I've kissed my fair share as well. But this is not about my exploits in the Great White North (those would have made the accomplishment list five years ago). This is about me recognizing my accomplishments in this year.
One of my greatest fears--aside from live fish--would be complacency. I have always been the type of person who is striving for perfection, or at least constant improvement. While this relentless pursuit of the impossible can be quite exhausting, it's also been the drive behind where I've landed today. It is certainly not a bad thing to be motivated by self-improvement, but it is a bad thing to not take a breath, look around, and give gratitude for where I am and who I have become. With that, I provide this cathartic release of what I have accomplished over the past year (the highs and the lows)*:
- I got a new job--heck a new career. The one I've been dreaming about for over 3 years.
- I bought a house, all by myself **(okay, I own the front door of the house that the bank owns, but it's a really really nice front door).
- I painted all of the rooms inside of that house... and climbed several other domestic-type mountains.
- I fell in and out of love.
- I survived falling in and out of love, and each day is getting better
- I turned 30!
- I ran the Portland marathon (and ran my fastest time, ever 3:51:48), but the most important thing is that I made some great new friends doing it.
- I learned how to play soccer. I even scored a goal, granted it was for the other team on my own goalie, but a goal nonetheless.
- I made myself a legend in Prairie du Chien, WI with an impressive Thanksgiving karaoke extravaganza.
- I never gave up, even when it seemed like that was the easiest and most logical thing to do. When the going got tough, I got tougher--and things worked out in the end.
Sure, some of these accomplishments may not be huge, weighty things, but they are all things that I have done with my whole heart and soul. And that feels good. After I take a few more seconds, er minutes, er moments, to reflect on them and start aiming for what's next, I know that big or small, enjoyable or painful, I can accomplish many things. And that I deserve to enjoy them all.
Note to self: Being thankful should not be reserved for late November. This was good for you, you should do this more often.
*I realize that this might be a boring post for any of you readers out there... but then I realize, I don't have any readers yet, ha!
**So this technically didn't happen in 2007 just a few months before, but I'm still very proud of that accomplishment, and because this is my blog and I'm the boss of it, I'm keeping this on the list.
As I was surfing profiles tonight for Mr. Right, I may have stumbled across Mr. Write. Not to say that he penned today's note, but it was the headline for his personal ad. After reading further, I don't think this one and I are a match, but I sure loved his opening line--especially compared to any of the trite pick-up lines I've heard.
I thought this was particularly poignant and timely since I had an impromptu encounter with a friend today that left me thinking about what I've accomplished this year. And as much as I find myself reaching for what's next, I really need to reflect on what's now.
The Claddagh is an outward sign of your love, friendship, and loyalty (read: your relationship status). And being the single gal I am, I figured why not use this subtle, er obvious, accessory to proclaim: "Hey, Boys. Come and get it. This one's available!"
Last Friday, I was leaving work in a flurry. My hands were full of assorted items: keys, loose papers I had just picked up off the printer and not shoved into my bag, water bottle, cell phone, etc. As I got to my level of the parking garage I started walking directly to my car and noticed there was a car coming toward me--apparently such a flurry that I forgot to look both ways before crossing the driveway. I made some crazy gestures with all of my items in tow, which somehow were intended to be my sign to the driver that I was sorry and that I was hurrying to get across. Through my theatrics, I saw the glint of something flying through the air and heard a dainty little clink on the cement. It was my ring. There I was, standing in the middle of the driveway with no open hands, ring in the road, my car only a couple yards away, and a Corolla bearing down on me.
So what did I do? I decided to get to my car, put my stuff in it, let the car pass and then go pick up my ring.
Note to self: When you drop something valuable (sentimental or otherwise), you should probably stop to pick it up.
I got to my car and turned around just in time to see that Corolla run right over my ring! Squarely. I stood there, mouth agape and amazed. Then I laughed really loudly. What were the odds? When I picked up the ring, it was completely flattened.
Holding the ring in the palm of my hand, in the middle of the 3rd floor of the parking garage, my laughter quickly turned into an agonizing sob as I thought about the symbolism of this all. The loosely-fitting pinkie ring I love, the one that represents love and relationships, was squished by a crappy car. What is that supposed to mean?
My mom tried to console me (through her laughter and my tears) that it only means I should have picked up the ring. But I still can't help but wonder... is this the parking garage gods trying to tell me to give into the bitter single woman that I feel starting to grow inside of me?